Tomb Sweeping Festival is quite a catchy little name for a public holiday, don’t you think? A whole lot more interesting than Easter Monday, which it happens to co-incide with this year. In Chinese it’s called Qingming Jie 清明节. Qingming means ‘clear and bright’ , but how exactly this translates to ‘tomb sweeping’ is best left to someone who knows a bit more about the Chinese language than me.
Qingming is a chance for people to pay respects to their ancestors, and celebrate the arrival of spring. Like many Chinese festivals though, the original meaning has become entangled with two thousand years worth of stories and traditions. As a result, the list of things one does/should do/remembers doing as a child; is long and varied.
1. Visit the tomb of ancestors and sweep tomb, burn incense. Optional: burn paper money, let off firecrackers
2. Fly kites
3. Swing on a swing
4. Walk on green grass
5. Plant willow twigs in the ground
6. Eat grass flavoured dumplings. This last one is Very Optional.